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On the Role of Group Membership in Stereotype-Based Performance Effects



Group memberships serve an important function in our lives. They help define who we are; thus, they are intimately involved in our daily functioning. But in certain situations, our group memberships may have a particularly profound influence on the way we behave, such as in situations where stereotypes apply. In this article, I examine the role group membership plays in distinguishing between different performance effects that are based on stereotypes associated with our group memberships. Knowing the role that group memberships play in such effects can refine existing theory and research while also providing insight into methods for combating the adverse effects of stereotypes on behavior. Accordingly, I review a number of stereotype-based performance effects that involve both negative and positive stereotypes as well as describe how group membership moderates these effects. I then discuss how stereotyped concerns associated with our group memberships can clarify the distinction between stereotype threat and priming effects. In the final portion of this article, I highlight how learning about a counter-stereotypic person from one's group can serve to reduce the negative effects of stereotypes on performance.